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CFI Skeptics of Eugene Message Board › Giving in the Name of CFI Skeptics

Giving in the Name of CFI Skeptics

Deborah B.
Eugene, OR
Post #: 5
At our Coffee Klatch on Wednesday, December 14th, some of us discussed finding ways to give to those less fortunate in our community in the name of CFI Skeptics during this traditional time of giving, both for the sake of the giving itself, and also as a way of increasing awareness that Skeptics are altruistic, too.

As promised, I attempted over the past two days to contact Unitarian Church officials in the hope of learning how our efforts might best be directed. Unfortunately, despite numerous attempts, I never spoke to anyone -- not even an answering machine.

Since time grows short, I had a notion for which Hugh must be given total credit. He shared with me during a conversation after the meeting that he was just on his way to drop some gift cards he purchased from Fred Meyers for distribution through one of his favored charities. I love this idea!

So for this year, my suggestion is that each of us purchase gift cards for food, clothing or something else useful, place them in envelopes with cards signed CFI Skeptics and give them to our favorite local charities for distribution. I am sure that Women's Space, Food for Lane County, Occupy Eugene or any number of organizations would be most grateful for the gifts.

Totally open to other ideas, but this seems expedient under the circumstances.

Thoughts? :)

A former member
Post #: 1
Hi! I chose St. Vinc. Family Services because they do such a good job of outreach to families, children, and people who are homeless. They just lost one job position and their pre-school program for lack of funds. They are the ones responsible in our area for providing people with permission to park their trailers, campers, motorhomes in church parking lots, city lots, etc. so they don't get arrested, forced to leave etc. The gift cards I give are for the kids to have $20 bucks each to shop with their friends. Not much I agree, but something is better than nothing. Diana Wise and her husband, Bill, run the show there and they are wonderful, dedicated human beings. It is a bare bones operation for sure so they need whatever they can get in the way of help. More now than ever. Thanks for taking the time to read this. See you at the next meeting. And thanks, Deborah, for passing the idea along. All the outreach programs need help right now. HughC
Lee J.
user 13404892
Eugene, OR
Post #: 21
This sounds like a nice idea to incorporate into existing end-of-year giving plans.

Hugh - Could you explain how you go about donating gift cards to the St. Vincent Family Services? (i.e. Contact info)

Deborah - Do you know how you would do the same for Food For Lane County? Do you have to drop them off directly at one of their offices?

A former member
Post #: 2
Lee....It's First Place Family Center, 1995 Amazon Parkway, phone 541-342-7728. Diana Wise is the Asst. Dir. and the lady I've always dealt with there. Superwoman. I go to F Meyer and buy their gift cards in $20 denomination and take them to her. I like the personal contact with Diana and her very tiny staff. They also always need laundry detergent, toiletries, diapers, and on and on. Good outreach here. Thanks for your inquiry. HughC
A former member
Post #: 9

Well we obviously were sitting at different ends of the coffee klatch table. One of our topics was a discussion about the CFI sponsored lecture last month. The gist of which was that we as secularists should not acknowledge the Hallmark Holy Days and certainly not participate in them.

I do understand the conditioned need to give at this time of the year so perhaps we could help by participating in a secular organization event. I for instance plan to work with the Friends Of Trees restoring Amazon Creek on 31 Dec. 9am, next to Chavez School and behind Albertson's.

Another secular idea would be to give a gift card to Rocky Anderson and help with the long term solution to the problems in America.

Kurt Koivu

A former member
Post #: 1
I wasn't at the meeting and I realize the list is mostly national and international programs but


has a list of charities that are not affiliated with religion.


A former member
Post #: 1
My idea is not really connected to charities or to the holiday, but wouldn't it be nice to develop a scholarship for some local student going to college. It would have to be in the thousands, every little bit counts. Plus it would be a great way to get our name out there. Just an idea.
A former member
Post #: 12
Great list Michael (!); very encouraging to look at the kind of idealistic projects secular people can get inspired to go with.

For me the religious association to Christmas has never clicked, since there's no mention of a decorated tree or a yule party or a huge commercial presents for kids orgy in the Bible. Rather it seemed the opposite; that the Christians have done their best to muster a positive attitude about a pagan Solstice festival, but never feeling quite right about a commercial orgy.

The "giving to the needy" thing looks ridiculous to me, in a modern world. It made sense in the time of Kris Kringle, when capitalist resource combat was literal and made lots of winter casualties. Because I grew up penniless and have lived as a street camper a lot I know how effortless it is to cope with in a modern world. I'd say that modern charities are to help straight people have a marginal positive fellowship with people like me, but it's just degenerated into private sneering on both sides and feeding more childish indifference to the commercial rape of the earth through Fred Meyer gift cards. Street people don't need stuff. The stuff that matters to them they take care of, same as anyone. What they need is recognition as sane idealistic human beings who hear a different drummer.
Sarah G.
user 19578881
Eugene, OR
Post #: 1
Adrian, I understand your concern regarding the "commercial rape" of the earth. I also understand that there are people that feel the way you do about not needing much in this modern world. Kudos to you for marching to your own drummer.

However, I think it is unfair to lump all homeless/needy people in that category. There are a lot of people out there that need things like blankets, coats, food, shoes. And I don't believe all of them are sneering. I deal with donations daily through my workplace and I know there are people that feel very appreciative. I refuse to be so cynical as to think they are not being sincere in their gratitude.

I do take offense to your "sneering" attitude towards our well-meaning members for wanting to do something kind. Why does it have to be painted in such a negative light? If you feel there is a better way to go about this please give us some ideas. We are working with what we know at this point.

On a side note I do receive letters from individuals in our community from time to time that ask for help with things like home repairs that they cannot manage on their own. Usually they are elderly and or disabled people and have no one to help them with their needs. My workplace isn't always able to help them. I would like to find a way to help these people. Maybe organize a group of people to go help out or collect donations for them. Since I am talking about individuals in need they are not a tax deductible charity so some may not want to donate if it can't be written off. But if there were people out there that would be interested in volunteering or taking part in something like this I would be willing to do some organizing. Let me know what you all think.

Deborah B.
Eugene, OR
Post #: 6
I apologize for dropping the ball on this. Unfortunately this is a very busy time of year for me work-wise, and I picked up a cold just for extra fun.

Michael, yes, a great list -- thanks for sharing it! Should we choose to give in a more formal way, I think it will be a superb place to start.

Kurt, pretty amusing the diverse directions the 2 ends of the Coffee Klatch table took. I like your ideas as well. Nothing about what we are discussing is mutually exclusive, obviously. I like Nicole's scholarship idea, too. I think Skeptics altruism can take many different forms and at many different times of the year, and it's probably a good idea to have a few different directions so people can choose one with which they are comfortable and feel philosophically aligned.

I, too, am sensitive to the "commercial rape" of the earth. But hungry folks are hungry folks, and gift cards from a grocery store are a way of giving food or other necessities particular to individual needs without imposing judgment. I wasn't especially thinking of street people as the recipients, though if they are in need, of course they could be. That's why I suggested Women's Space, Food for Lane County and Occupy Eugene as potential distributors of the gifts. They don't limit their assistance to the homeless.

I think if Skeptics members have philosophical objections to this proposed type of giving, then of course it's not something for them to engage in. I ended up doing my own personal distributions through a friend who is involved with several charity organizations. I gave my cards to her and signed them simply, A Skeptic. I know she will make sure they end up in the hands of those in need.

The only point I meant to make in giving during this traditional time is to help debunk the notion that people who don't believe in a god are selfish, unfeeling and/or amoral. I don't care if the gifts go to secular or non-secular recipients. Hungry is hungry. And I think we atheists/non-believers/free thinkers need as much good "press" as we can get.

Sarah, I would be willing to help in any way I can. I thank you for offering to do some organizing. I don't personally care if the donation is tax deductible or not.

Best, Deb
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